I am an evolutionary biologist interested in the mechanisms and conditions driving (or constraining) biological diversity. Like most evolutionary biologists I am not only interested in the "how" but mostly the "why" questions. Why are there 350,000 species of beetles and only 4,500 species of mammals (apart from God's inordinate fondness for beetles, of course)? That might not be a fair comparison, but why is approximately every 30th species of vertebrates a cichlid fish? To go even further, why do some lineages of cichlid fishes (e.g. Midas cichlids in Nicaragua) diversify so rapidly, while other closely related lineages of cichlids in the same area do not? Understanding why certain lineages diversify much faster than others, and how, are some of the ultimate questions to which I want to contribute.
In the last couple of years, I have become more and more interested in understanding the genetic bases of variation in behaviors.